When the pussy-grabbing Predator-in-Chief took his first official steps in the Oval Office, Black trans folks were already on notice.
We had just transitioned out of 2016, a year of increased numbers of transgender deaths and business as usual in terms of barriers to housing, economic opportunities and healthcare. Though many continued to tragic narratives of our helplessness, we carried on despite the heightened ridiculousness of this political moment.
Here are 12 moments of Black trans resilience that prove our fight for liberation won’t be stopped:
Trans presence at The Women’s March calls for intentional inclusion.
On Trump’s literal first day in office, author Janet Mock and I were speakers at the National Women’s March in opposition to the inauguration of the most unqualified President in U.S. History.
In “I Am My Sister’s Keeper,” Mock discussed the need to carry all of our sisters’ and siblings’ demands in our freedom work while I foreshadowed the necessity of intersectionality and intention inclusion in this new iteration of movement in “A Vision of Liberation.”
Activist Rae Nelson brings trans inclusion to Annual Rally for Reproductive Justice.
On Jan. 28, Nelson became the first trans woman to speak at the 7th Annual Rally for Reproductive Justice at the State Capitol in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Nelson called for nuanced conversations on pregnancy, birth control, abortion, trans-related healthcare and more. Given the event’s history of commemoration for the Roe v. Wade ruling, before Nelson’s presence there was a notable lack in awareness and elevation of the reproductive justice needs of trans people of all genders.
Activists gather 1,000 people outside of Trump Tower to protest anti-trans violence.
In the wake of Trump’s revocation of an Obama Era guidance to allow trans students to use facilities that correspond with their gender identity and five murders of Black trans women in February, trans organizers called fora protest outside of the Trump Tower in Chicago.
On Mar. 3, chants like “Black trans lives matter!” and “Protect trans youth!” rang out in opposition of Agent Orange and his Administration.
‘Queen Sugar’ Actor Brian Michael Smith comes out as trans on TV.
— NBC Out (@NBCOUT) July 16, 2017
In July, Smith made the bold move to come out as trans on one of the most prominent TV shows of the time, “Queen Sugar.”
He portrayed Toine Wilkins, a transgender police officer who went to high school with principal character, Ralph Angel. He made a powerful decision to allow the Ava Duvernay directed show to bare his most authentic self.
Ohio’s Black Pride 4 are arrested while protesting state violence.
Over the past few years, Black and Brown LGBTQ folks have been calling for less police presence at Pride parades and community events.
Given that the Stonewall Riots happened in response to police brutality, it only makes sense that commemorative events would be intentional about acknowledging that history.
This year at Columbus Ohio’s annual Stonewall Pride Parade, Wriply Bennet, Kendall Denton, Ashley Braxton, and DeAndre Antonio Miles-Hercules, demonstrated to raise awareness on anti-Black and anti-Brown violence.
They were arrested and berated by cis white parade attendees. Trial for the activists is set to begin in early 2018. Support the Black Pride 4 by donating to the Black Pride 4 legal fund.
Eyricka King goes viral after sharing her brutal experiences in prison.
A Black trans woman detailed sexual assault and physical violence from officers at New York’s Franklin Correctional Facility after a her mother, Kelly Harrison, circulated a video discussing a letter she’d received from King.
Just a few days later, she was released from solitary confinement and demands were made for her sentencing to be reduced.
Model Munroe Bergdorf continues to lift the veil on white supremacy after L’Oréal Paris U.K. drops her from their beauty campaign
Early this year, Bergdorf was named the first trans model to front a L’Oréal UK campaign in the UK. Within a week, she had openly discussed her thoughts on the aftermath of Charlottesville and rampant white supremacy.
The beauty company promptly dropped her from their diversity campaign causing outrage on multiple levels
After the debacle, Bergdorf’s popularity has risen, she’s continued to stay booked with a major deal with Illamasqua and still discusses the perils of white supremacy more than ever.
Ashlee Marie Preston holds Caitlyn Jenner accountable for working against the Trans Community.
In late August, the activist and editor-in-chief of Wear Your Voice magazine confronted Jenner at a Trans Chorus of LA event.
For years, Jenner has openly supported the Republican Party and Trump despite their insistence on rolling back or blocking progress for the trans community. Preston said the words many of people had been wanting to say since her ascent to popularity.
Black trans politicians gained major firsts on Election Day.
Minneapolis now has two Black trans city council members:
Here’s what they had to say about their groundbreaking journey to public office: pic.twitter.com/dLS03qVXib
— The Root (@TheRoot) November 11, 2017
After a year of U.S. politics steeped in neo-fascism, it was refreshing to see Andrea Jenkins and Phillipe Cunningham win seats on the Minneapolis City Council.
They became the first Black trans woman and Black trans man, respectively, to be named to a major city’s council. Here’s to more firsts for Black trans folks in politics in the future!
Activists respond to transphobia after the Breakfast Club Boycott.
While on the press tour for her second memoir, author Janet Mock made an infamous stop at radio show, The Breakfast Club.
A few days after the cringe-worthy interview, the hosts made light of the trans community, used Mock’s identity as comic fodder and comedian Lil Duval joked about killing a trans woman if he encountered her under romantic circumstances. Well, trans activists were having none of that.
Marsha P. Johnson Institute Founder Elle Hearns called for a boycott of the show, I made a call of action to allies to take a stand in solidarity and Ashlee Marie Preston with Patrisse Cullors-Khan, of Black Lives Matter, confronted host Charlamagne during one of his speaking engagements.
Kortney Ziegler partners with National Bail Out to launch Appolition.
Ziegler has worn many hats over the years as filmmaker, tech guru and scholar.
His latest effort, with co-founder Tiffany Mikell, is Appolition, an app that takes spare change from each purchase a user makes, rounds it up to the nearest dollar and automatically donates each time they reach at least 50 cents in spare change.
Sign up here.
Reina Gossett holds David France accountable for lifting influence and research on Marsha P. Johnson for his documentary.
Filmmaker David France released a Netflix doc Friday about Marsha P. Johnson. It is based on Reina Gossett’s work (her statement below). pic.twitter.com/YtQiVMuOjm
— Janet Mock (@janetmock) October 7, 2017
It was the Instagram post read around the world. Gossett, an activist and filmmaker, accused France of uncredited extraction of influence and archival work for his Netflix-backed documentary, “The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson.”
She discussed her frustration with how after years of trying to get her film off the ground and attempts to undermine her work, a white cis man had used his privilege, connections and resources to diminish her efforts.
Gossett’s film “Happy Birthday, Marsha!” is slated for release in 2018.